Vassar CollegeSeventy-six students mistakenly received acceptance letters into Vassar when a “test letter,” intended to be a placeholder of the actual notice of admission or rejection, was never replaced, Jeff Kosmacher, a spokesman for Vassar, told The New York Times. Between 6:30 and 7 p.m. 122 students had checked into the admission site to check their status with the Poughkeepsie, New York university, although only 46 of those students had actually been accepted. The following account from the Times is heartbreaking: “Megan Curiel, from San Antonio, saw the good news on her iPhone and sobbed. Her father called relatives. She ordered two Vassar sweatshirts — one for her and one for her mother. They popped Champagne. 'I was in,' Ms. Curiel said, 'for about three hours.'”
New York UniversityNYU erroneously e-mailed 489 grad-school applicants in April 2009 that they had been accepted to the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. To add even more insult to injury, the e-mails were coincidentally sent on April Fools’. One unhappy applicant told the student-run Washington Square News it was the “Worst April Fools’ joke ever.”
University of DelawareSixty-one high school seniors hoping to get into the University of Delaware ended up disappointed to learn they wouldn't be cheering for the Fightin' Blue Hens, after all. The March 2011 glitch was related to Delaware’s new web portal, My Blue Hen Home. Only accepted students were supposed to have access to the site, which read “Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Delaware.” Louis Hirsh, director of admissions, blamed “human error” and “a chunk of computer code” for the problem, according to “Good Morning America.” “It really stunk,” 18-year-old Dylan Breger of New Jersey told the ABC show. His stepdad said they had already called everyone in the family about the news.
University of California, San DiegoIn March 2009, nearly 46,377 students opened their e-mail to find out they had been accepted at UC San Diego, NBC San Diego reported. Problem was, nearly 29,000 of those students hadn’t really been accepted. NBC reported that a second e-mail was sent to those misled high schoolers, apologizing for the mistake. Admission Director Mae Brown took full responsibility for the “administrative error,” the L.A. Times reported, but the emotional damage was already done. One anonymous parent told the paper it was a “colossal screw-up.”
University of North Carolina, Chapel HillUNC Chapel Hill officials found themselves scrambling to take back an e-mail they accidentally sent to about 2,700 potential freshmen in January 2007. Stephen Farmer, director of undergraduate admission at the school, e-mailed a message meant for incoming students to applicants still being considered. The e-mail read, “Congratulations again on your admission to the University,” according The Associated Press. Fortunately, many students caught on to the odd syntax ("again") and realized it must have been a mistake.
Happiness quickly turned into despair last weekend when 67 students were mistakenly told they got into Vassar College, thanks to a computer-related error.
According a New York Times article, a test letter meant to be a placeholder for a student's actual notice of rejection or admission was never replaced, leading dozens of applicants to see a false acceptance status when they logged into the college's site.
Mistakes like Vassar's actually are common. Almost every year, at least one college erroneously sends that happy letter of congratulations to the wrong group of people. Apologies are usually immediate, but the emotional damage is already done.
Above is a slideshow of five schools that let down hopeful high schoolers enduring an already stressful admissions process.